Whether you’re a keen twitcher or simply interested in spotting nature up close, Aston’s Eyot is a great place to see a wide range of birds.

There are lots of feathered friends lurking around the eyot. If you are new to birdwatching and want to improve your skills at recognising birds and their songs, you can download our guidance sheet (PDF, 237KB) to help you. Below, you’ll see a long list of confirmed species that have been spotted on the eyot. If you’d like to contribute to our observations, then please email us at

Aston’s Eyot bird list

Most species listed here have been confirmed from 2010 to 2022. Several that appear reasonably regularly, but for which we don’t have a recent record, are indicated. Some others on the list were recorded in the 1970s and 1980s, but not recently. These are indicated as ‘occurred in the past’. For fuller details see the dated lists available as a download.

  • Great Crested Grebe – resident in general area, single birds seen some years only in winter at Aston’s Eyot on the Thames or Cherwell.
  • Dabchick / Little Grebe – resident in general area, very infrequent in winter at Aston’s Eyot on the Cherwell; not seen since 2011.
  • Cormorant – resident, seen regularly, most often in winter, along the Thames & Cherwell, and flying over.
  • Grey Heron – resident in general area, seen regularly, usually singly.
  • Little Egret – resident; occasional flying over; once only feeding on Long Meadow.
  • Greylag Goose (feral) – common resident, breeds locally.
  • Canada Goose  – common resident, sometimes breeds on Boathouse Island or Swan Island (Kidneys).
  • Mallard – common resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Pintail – one record; male flushed from Laurie’s Pond on 8 January 2021.
  • Teal – winter visitor in very small numbers, usually on Long Meadow pond.
  • Wigeon – probably occurs sometimes, no recent records.
  • Shoveler – a pair on Long Meadow in March-April 2013 and March 2016 are the only records.
  • Pochard – probably occurs sometimes, no recent records.
  • Tufted Duck – infrequent winter visitor on Thames (when local lakes frozen).
  • Scaup – a female on the Thames December 2010 – January 2011 is the only record.
  • Goosander – occasional winter visitor in very small numbers on Cherwell, absent some years; visits usually very brief in the early morning before human disturbance.
  • Mute Swan – resident, sometimes breeds on Aston’s Eyot / Swan Island.
  • Osprey – one old record in the 1980s was the only sighting until one flew over in April 2014.
  • Red Kite – common resident in general area, often seen overhead singly or pairs.
  • Sparrowhawk – resident; a pair regularly nests on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Buzzard – resident in general area, often seen flying over or perched in trees.
  • Peregrine Falcon – scarce winter visitor; two flew over in February 2019; birds sometimes hang out around Magdalen College tower.
  • Hobby – summer visitor, one or two sightings every 2 or 3 years.
  • Merlin – winter visitor; 1 record, March 2018.
  • Kestrel – resident, breeds locally, regularly seen usually in winter, less frequent since 2020.
  • Grey Partridge – one old record (1980s).
  • Pheasant – resident in general area, seen sporadically; bred on Aston’s Eyot in 2012.
  • Water Rail – winter visitor to the ditches, single birds only; seen most years up to 2019, not since except across Thames at Long Bridges.
  • Moorhen – resident, 1-2 pairs nest on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Coot – resident, sometimes breeds on Aston’s Eyot/Kidneys, seen much more rarely after 2015.
  • Lapwing – very occasionally seen flying over (one record in 2012; more frequent in the 1980s).
  • Redshank – probably occurs sometimes, no recent records.
  • Common Sandpiper – very occasional on Thames bank, passage migrant.
  • Common Snipe – used to frequent Long Meadow, but only recent record is 2 overhead in February 2015; regular on Iffley Meadows when partly flooded in winter.
  • Jack Snipe – occasional in winter on Iffley Meadows, not yet recorded on Aston’s Eyot/Long Meadow.
  • Woodcock – rare winter visitor (more frequent in 1980s); 1 Fairacres Rd (!) in November 2019.
  • Black-headed Gull – common resident in general area, present all year along river.
  • Greater Black-backed Gull – only recorded in 2002, but probably flies over with other gulls.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull – resident, breeds locally; seen over Aston’s Eyot all year round.
  • Herring Gull – a pair took up a unusual winter feeding territory on Isis school playing field over 5 winters 2012-3 to 2016-7, after which the male disappeared, though by autumn the female seemed to have acquired a new friend; formerly occasional, increasingly regular.
  • Common Gull – rarely recorded, but may be overlooked flying over.
  • Common Tern – summer visitor occasionally seen along Thames, non-breeder.
  • Wood Pigeon – common resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Stock Dove – resident, probably breeds on Aston’s Eyot and Boathouse Island.
  • Feral Pigeon – resident, breeds locally; usually seen flying over, and on the Kidneys after mowing.
  • Turtle Dove – occurred in the past before national decline, no recent records.
  • Collared Dove – resident, breeds in local gardens, occasionally also on Aston’s Eyot / Kidneys.
  • Ring-necked Parakeet – resident; reached Oxford mid-2010s, first seen Aston’s Eyot January 2019, regular in ones and twos over Iffley Fields gardens by 2020.
  • Tawny Owl – resident,  a pair often breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Short-eared Owl – exceptional; one seen flying over Aston Street, autumn 2011.
  • Barn Owl – one seen on Iffley Meadows in April 2013, not yet recorded on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Cuckoo – regular summer visitor in the past, now usually just heard on spring passage; seen prospecting in 2011.
  • Swift – summer visitor, breeds locally; often seen overhead.
  • Kingfisher – resident, breeds locally; usually seen singly along the Shire Lake Ditch or the Cherwell.
  • Green Woodpecker – resident, a pair usually nests on Aston’s Eyot or nearby.
  • Greater-spotted Woodpecker – resident, 1 or 2 pairs nest on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Lesser-spotted Woodpecker – occurred in the past, no recent records.
  • Skylark – occasionally recorded flying over.
  • Swallow – summer visitor, breeds locally (under bypass bridge beyond Iffley & at Donnington Weirs),
  • but now rarely seen at Aston’s Eyot.
  • House Martin – summer visitor (one or two pairs still bred in East Oxford in 2019, but gone by 2021).
  • Sand Martin – summer visitor, occasional passage birds along river corridor.
  • Meadow Pipit – infrequent winter visitor; seen 2009; more frequent on Iffley Meadows.
  • Grey Wagtail – resident, sometimes breeds locally; infrequent in winter on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Pied Wagtail – resident and winter visitor, infrequent on Aston’s Eyot, more often seen near Donnington Bridge and in nearby streets.
  • Great Grey Shrike – two records: one in 1976, and one reported nearby on Iffley Meadows in October 2011.
  • Waxwing – occasional winter visitor; only two records on Aston’s Eyot (January 2011, March 2013) but seen in gardens in Meadow Lane and Iffley Rd area in winter 2008-9 and December 2010-March 2011 and similarly 2012-13.
  • Wren – common resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Dunnock – common resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Cetti’s Warbler – resident locally; not yet recorded on the Eyot, but heard (it is rarely actually seen) across the Thames and below Iffley Lock.
  • Grasshopper Warbler – occurred in the past, no recent records; better habitat across river at Long Bridges & Iffley Meadows.
  • Sedge Warbler – summer visitor, breeds Iffley Meadows; infrequent on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Reed Warbler – one singing by the river in July 2013 and July 2014 are the only records; sometimes breeds on Iffley Meadows.
  • Blackcap – common summer visitor, breeds on Aston’s Eyot; Winter visitor in nearby gardens.
  • Garden Warbler – summer visitor, 1-2 pairs generally breed on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Whitethroat – summer visitor, up to 3 pairs breed on Aston’s Eyot/Kidneys.
  • Lesser Whitethroat – sporadic summer visitor; one sang all summer in 2015, more frequent in the past.
  • Willow Warbler – summer visitor & passage migrant, no longer breeds regularly.
  • Chiffchaff – common summer visitor, breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Goldcrest – resident & winter visitor, scarce local breeder; inconspicuous; nested in Jackdaw Lane in 2020, may nest on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Spotted Flycatcher – previously a common summer visitor, but due to national decline now only seen sporadically on autumn passage, as in 2013, 2018 and 2021.
  • Robin – common resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Fieldfare – winter visitor, most often in severe weather, not seen every year.
  • Blackbird – common resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Redwing – common winter visitor; sometimes a large overnight roost.
  • Songthrush – resident, a few pairs nest on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Mistle Thrush / Stormcock – resident, infrequently seen; formerly much more common, but a pair returned to breed in 2021
  • Long-tailed Tit – resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Marsh Tit – occurred in the past; three recent records: November 2012, several times in 2020, and March 2022.
  • Willow Tit – occurred in the past before national decline, one recent record: December 2017.
  • Coal Tit – winter visitor to nearby gardens, infrequent on Aston’s Eyot; scarce resident breeder in East Oxford.
  • Bluetit – common resident, breeds in nestboxes on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Great Tit – common resident, breeds in nestboxes on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Nuthatch – resident, birds wander in winter – first confirmed November 2019, then heard & seen throughout 2021; possibly overlooked.
  • Treecreeper – resident, sometimes breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Chaffinch – resident & winter visitor, declining; formerly bred annually on Aston’s Eyot, but now irregular.
  • Brambling – winter visitor; only one record: February 2018.
  • Greenfinch – resident, bred on Aston’s Eyot before recent decline, now seen sporadically.
  • Siskin – winter visitor most years in small flocks of up to 30+, feeds in alders.
  • Redpoll – occasional winter visitor in small numbers, not seen every year.
  • Goldfinch – resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot and nearby gardens.
  • Linnet – resident & winter visitor; occurred in the past, no recent records.
  • Bullfinch – resident, occasionally breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Corn Bunting – occurred in the past, no recent records.
  • Yellowhammer – occurred in the past, no recent records.
  • Reed Bunting – occasional, especially in winter; breeds on Iffley Meadows; bred Kidneys 2012.
  • House Sparrow –  resident, massive recent decline, rarely seen beyond local gardens; still breeds locally, increasing again since 2010
  • Tree Sparrow – occurred in the past, no recent records.
  • Starling – resident and winter visitor; breeds locally; usually seen flying over and in local rooftops.
  • Jay – resident, 1-2 pairs nest on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Magpie – resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot; formerly a large winter roost of up to 80 birds, though fewer since 2015.
  • Raven – seen once or twice a year flying over since 2011; has increased generally, so more to be expected.
  • Jackdaw – common resident, breeds locally; mostly seen flying over to feed on meadows across river.
  • Carrion Crow – common resident, breeds on Aston’s Eyot.
  • Rook – local resident that probably occurs sometimes, no records since 1988.

(List last revised 25.03.2022)

Bird sighting lists

Bird sightings 2017

Bird sightings 2016

Bird sightings 2015

Bird sightings 2014

Bird sightings 2013

Bird sightings 2012

Bird sightings 2011

Bird sightings 2010

Bird sightings 1973-2011

Seen something interesting?

From the arrival of the first winter migrant birds, to something that leaves you stumped, please get in touch – and remember, a photo always helps!